Good Vibrations, or Buzzing with Joy at BlogHer in July

BlogHer Original Post

In preparing to head out to San Francisco for the BlogHer Conference, I ran through my mental list of favorite things to do in the Bay Area. Of course, stopping by the feminist sex shop Good Vibrations is always a must. (Not only a sex-positive shop that supports the spectrum of gender identities, Good Vibrations is also a co-operative!) The last time I was there, they has an awesome little vibrator museum in the store. Looking at the various apparatuses and comparing them to current vibrator design was a kick (dare I say thrill?), and it also spoke to the history of women's sexuality in the US. These days, we may be living in hypersexualized-yet-puritanical times in which women are both encouraged to flaunt their sexuality and also punished for being sexual, but this was not always the case - at least in regards to women's self-pleasure.

While I was browsing through Sexy Funky Fun, I came across a reprinted review of Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm. The review is by Janice Formichetta and originally appeared on Feminist Review:

Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm is a documentary from award winning filmmakers Wandy [sic] Slick and Emiko Omori. Based on a best-selling book by Rachel Maines, The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, the film provides a comprehensive look at the history of the vibrator and societal views of the female orgasm, beginning as far back as Copernicus. Unashamed, humorous, and admittedly feminist, the film explores all aspects of the vibrator and - to use a term coined by Betty Dodson, who is highlighted in the film — the liberation of masturbation.

Passion and Power is an empowering perspective of female sexuality and is a must see for any woman, regardless of their indulgence in battery-powered instruments. Hilarious as well as educational, the film is a crash course in the female orgasm and includes "fun facts" from Maines' book. For instance, did you know the first vibrators in the United States, originally used by physicians, were as big as a dining room table? Or that between the beginning of the 1900s and the mid-1920s there was no stigma or shame associated with using or purchasing a vibrator, and they were sold in such respectable magazines as Sears Roebuck? And, at the time of filming, Texas law stated that it was illegal to own more than 5 items that may be used for sexual gratification? Any more than 5 would suggest intent to sell such items, which was also illegal.

Fascinating as it may be (and I find this utterly transfixing), those in the market for vibrators who won't be making it to the blogger conference (and for those of you who will, I am suddenly thinking maybe we need to arrange an organized field trip to the Mission... who's in?), there are some other excellent feminist sources on the web that highlight the latest in self-love technology. One site that I particularly like is Daily Bedpost. Written by the infamous Em & Lo, plus my soon-to-be new gynecologist (how can I not go to a gyny who writes on a feminist sex blog and advised Glamour magazine readers that Brazilian waxes are not always a great idea? This is a woman of my own heart...) have links to an adorable beaver vibrator wearing tighty-whities as well as more sophisticated and sensual models, plus advice on how to choose the one that's right for you! Not only do the ladies bring you the latest 411 on love toys, but their blog is chock full of other information and advice. (As good as it is, it was probably unwise of me to look at it while I was at work. Oh well.)

Now, as you're reading this blog post, are you thinking to yourself, "Yes, I agree that women should enjoy masturbating, but this is official proof that Suzanne is an utter lunatic - I would never go on a group vibrator-buying trip! How embarrassing!!!" OK, I admit that when I say "as you're reading this post," I actually meant me, because in person, these topics totally make me blush. BlogHers are such a cool group of women that of course we all own vibrators and talk freely about getting ourselves off. Right? Well, not always. Fun with Feminism says no more:

Of all of the things my friends and I talk about, masturbation is still one of the more taboo topics. We are all confident women, why do we still feel some sort of need to seem non-sexual? Why does admitting to owning a vibrator (or looking at porn, or talking about masturbating) make us feel ashamed and embarrassed? As one of my pals said recently, "I would rather talk about anal sex with my girlfriends than about masturbation." Why?...

Time for us to take action! Start admitting to your friends that you own a vibrator and you use it, whether you are single or in a relationship. If you don't have one, think about getting one! Don't be embarrassed, there is nothing to be ashamed of! It's harmless and fun! If you're not sure where to start, check out the Babeland Blog. They have all sorts of testimonials and reviews, and there is nothing creepy about the site. It's cute!

So next time you feel weird about masturbating, or owning a vibrator, or liking porn, or whatever other solo sexual activities you might feel hung up on, stop yourself. There is no reason to feel weird. You should feel good about yourself! Say it loud, "I have a vibrator and I'm proud"!

I am so down with this idea. In the past, BlogHer has had little ice breakers at their conferences, like taking pictures of people's shoes or their busts. This year, why not get your roommate to pose with her vibrator? Or, if she doesn't bring it with her because the TSA is full of nosy bastards and while one may be loud and proud of her vibrator, no wants it flung around the security check point at JFK, maybe we can just ask what kind of vibrators our fellow conference attendees prefer. And, I'm now officially 100% serious about the group trip to Good Vibrations. If anyone is coming in on Thursday afternoon and wants to go, say so in the comments. If we gather enough of a group, maybe I can pre-arrange for a class on vibrators and dildos or a tour of the museum or something along those lines.

Suzanne also blogs about life at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch, about yogurt at Live Active Cultures, and about creating positive social change at Just Cause.


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